Materials Science News

MIT Chemists Reveal Bacterial Enzyme That Can Produce Biodegradable Plastics

November 15, 2016

0 Comments

Chemists Discover Structure of Bacterial Enzyme That Generates Useful Polymers

Researchers at MIT have determined the structure of a bacterial enzyme that can produce biodegradable plastics, an advance that could help chemical engineers tweak the enzyme to make it even more industrially useful. The enzyme generates long polymer chains that can form either hard or soft plastics, depending on the starting materials that go into […]

Continue reading...

New Catalyst Promotes Carbon Dioxide Conversion into Fuels

November 15, 2016

0 Comments

Turning Greenhouse Gas Into Gasoline

Scientists at MIT have developed a new catalyst material that provides design principles for producing fuels from carbon dioxide emissions. The findings suggest a route toward using the world’s existing infrastructure for fuel storage and distribution, without adding net greenhouse emissions to the atmosphere. The new catalyst takes the process only through its first stage […]

Continue reading...

Harvard Engineers Create the First Fully 3D-Printed Heart-on-a-Chip

October 25, 2016

0 Comments

The First 3D-Printed Heart on a Chip

Engineers from Harvard University have made the first entirely 3D-printed organ-on-a-chip with integrated sensing. Using a fully automated, digital manufacturing procedure, the 3D-printed heart-on-a-chip can be quickly fabricated and customized, allowing researchers to easily collect reliable data for short-term and long-term studies. This new approach to manufacturing may one day allow researchers to rapidly design […]

Continue reading...

Two-Pronged Immune Response Destroys Tumors

October 24, 2016

0 Comments

New Treatment Elicits Two-Pronged Immune Response That Destroys Tumors in Mice

Using a combination of four different therapies, researchers from MIT reveal a new treatment that destroys tumors in mice. Harnessing the body’s own immune system to destroy tumors is a tantalizing prospect that has yet to realize its full potential. However, a new advance from MIT may bring this strategy, known as cancer immunotherapy, closer […]

Continue reading...

New Beaver-Inspired Wetsuits May Help Keep Surfers Warm

October 5, 2016

0 Comments

Beaver-Inspired Wetsuits

Inspired by semiaquatic mammals such as beavers and sea otters, MIT engineers are fabricating fur-like rubbery hair-lined wetsuits that may help keep surfers warm. Beavers and sea otters lack the thick layer of blubber that insulates walruses and whales. And yet these small, semiaquatic mammals can keep warm and even dry while diving, by trapping […]

Continue reading...

Motion-Directed Microrobots Can Be Propelled Light

October 4, 2016

0 Comments

Motion-Directed Robots on a Micro Scale

Researchers reveal a surprisingly simple way to direct synthetic microswimmers towards light or darkness. Phototactic behavior directs some bacteria towards light and others into darkness: This enables them to utilize solar energy as efficiently as possible for their metabolism, or, otherwise, protects them from excessive light intensity. A team of researchers headed by Clemens Bechinger […]

Continue reading...

Researchers Develop Shape-Programmable Miniscule Robots

September 27, 2016

0 Comments

Scientists Develop Shape-Programmable Magnetic Soft Matter

Researchers from the Max Planck Institute have developed functional elastomers that can be activated by magnetic fields. One day, microrobots may be able to swim through the human body like sperm or paramecia to carry out medical functions in specific locations. Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Stuttgart have developed functional […]

Continue reading...

MIT Aerospace Engineers Develop Carbon Nanotube “Stitches” to Strengthen Composites

August 8, 2016

0 Comments

Carbon Nanotube Stitches

Using carbon nanotube “stitches,” aerospace engineers from MIT have found a way to strengthen composites, helping make airplane frames lighter and more damage-resistant. The newest Airbus and Boeing passenger jets flying today are made primarily from advanced composite materials such as carbon fiber reinforced plastic — extremely light, durable materials that reduce the overall weight […]

Continue reading...

New Battery Could Overcome Key Drawbacks of Lithium-Air Batteries

July 26, 2016

1 Comment

New Battery Could Overcome Key Drawbacks of Lithium-Air Batteries

Engineers from MIT propose that a new lithium-oxygen battery material could be packaged in batteries that are very similar to conventional sealed batteries yet provide much more energy for their weight. Lithium-air batteries are considered highly promising technologies for electric cars and portable electronic devices because of their potential for delivering a high energy output […]

Continue reading...

New Hydrogel Hybrid Could Be Used To Make Artificial Skin

June 29, 2016

0 Comments

MIT Develops Tough Hydrogel Hybrid

MIT engineers have developed a method to bind gelatin-like polymer materials called hydrogels and elastomers, which could be used to make artificial skin and longer-lasting contact lenses. If you leave a cube of Jell-O on the kitchen counter, eventually its water will evaporate, leaving behind a shrunken, hardened mass — hardly an appetizing confection. The […]

Continue reading...

Graphene Provides a New Way to Turn Electricity Into Light

June 15, 2016

1 Comment

A New Way to Turn Electricity Into Light

By slowing down light to a speed slower than flowing electrons, scientists have developed a new way to turn electricity into light. When an airplane begins to move faster than the speed of sound, it creates a shockwave that produces a well-known “boom” of sound. Now, researchers at MIT and elsewhere have discovered a similar […]

Continue reading...

Bones and Shells May Lead to a New Formula for Concrete

June 2, 2016

0 Comments

MIT Engineers Search for a New Formula for Concrete

Engineers from MIT are seeking to redesign concrete by using bones and shells as blueprints for a stronger, more durable concrete. In a paper published online in the journal Construction and Building Materials, the team contrasts cement paste — concrete’s binding ingredient — with the structure and properties of natural materials such as bones, shells, […]

Continue reading...

Dual-Phase Alloys Capable of High Strength and Ductility

June 1, 2016

0 Comments

Alloys Overcome the Strength–Ductility Ttrade Off

Using a new strategy in the development of steel, scientists are able to create alloys capable of both high strength and ductility. For the steel industry, there may be a way out of the dilemma that has existed since people began processing metal. Scientists from the Max-Planck-Institut für Eisenforschung in Düsseldorf (Germany) are presenting a […]

Continue reading...

Yale Engineers Develop a New Tool to Fight Dust

May 2, 2016

0 Comments

Yale Develops a New Tool in the War Against Dust

Inspired by gecko feet, Yale researchers have developed a promising tool in the war on dust. Micrometric and sub-micrometric contaminant particles — what most of us call “dust” — can cause big problems for art conservators, the electronics industry, aerospace engineers, and others. These nanoparticles can prevent a cellphone from working or rob the vitality […]

Continue reading...

MIT Researchers Create Perfect Nanoscrolls from Graphene Oxide

April 12, 2016

2 Comments

Researchers Create Perfect Nanoscrolls

Using both low- and high-frequency ultrasonic techniques, scientists have fabricated nanoscrolls made from graphene oxide flakes. Water filters of the future may be made from billions of tiny, graphene-based nanoscrolls. Each scroll, made by rolling up a single, atom-thick layer of graphene, could be tailored to trap specific molecules and pollutants in its tightly wound […]

Continue reading...

A New Approach to Designing Hydrogen-Resistant Zirconium Alloys

March 29, 2016

1 Comment

Designing Hydrogen-Resistant Zirconium Alloys

Researchers from MIT have developed a new approach to designing hydrogen-resistant zirconium alloys, which could be useful in nuclear reactors. High-tech metal alloys are widely used in important materials such as the cladding that protects the fuel inside a nuclear reactor. But even the best alloys degrade over time, victims of a reactor’s high temperatures, […]

Continue reading...

Engineers Design Calcium-Based Multi-Element for Liquid Batteries

March 22, 2016

1 Comment

New Chemistries for Liquid Batteries

In a newly published study, MIT researchers show that calcium can form the basis for both the negative electrode layer and the molten salt that forms the middle layer of the three-layer battery. Liquid metal batteries, invented by MIT professor Donald Sadoway and his students a decade ago, are a promising candidate for making renewable […]

Continue reading...

Scientists Develop a Light-Driven Three-Dimensional Plasmonic Nanosystem

February 24, 2016

0 Comments

Researchers Develop Nanoplasmonic System in the Form of a Pair of Scissors That They Can Open Using UV light

Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems have developed a nanoplasmonic system in the form of a pair of scissors that they can open using UV light. Nanomachines could take over a variety of tasks in future. Some day they may be able to perform medical precision work in the human body or […]

Continue reading...